Most brands of birth control cost anywhere from $0-$50 for a one-month supply. However, there are ways to get free or discounted birth control through government programs, work, school, or your local health department.
Remember that to get a prescription for the pill, you may need to pay for an appointment with a medical professional, which on average may cost between $39-$250.
This article discusses birth control and the methods available to prevent pregnancy. It also outlines where you can get birth control, how much it costs, and how you can get it for free or at discounted prices.
How Much Does Birth Control Cost Without Insurance?
We gathered the following prices from Planned Parenthood.
|Birth Control Method||Cost|
|The pill||$0-$50, plus exam cost|
|Depo-Provera shot||$0-$150, plus exam cost|
|Vaginal ring||$0-$2200, plus exam cost|
|Patch||$0-$150, plus exam cost|
|IUD||$0-$1300, plus exam cost|
|Implant||$0-$1300, plus exam cost|
|Diaphragm||$0-$250, plus exam cost|
|Cervical cap||$0-$275, plus exam cost|
|Condom (external)||About $1-$3 per condom, or free|
|Condom (internal)||About $1-$3 per condom, or free|
|Birth control sponge||About $5 each|
|Spermicide||$5-$15 per kit|
How Can I Access Free or Discounted Birth Control?
There are several options for getting birth control for reduced cost or free, even if you don’t have insurance. Here are several possibilities:
- Through your job: Ask your HR if they have birth control available through the insurance company they use.
- Family planning clinics: Free or reasonable care may be available near you at a community health center or family planning clinic.
- Your county or city health department: Some health departments offer low-cost birth control based on income. If you qualify, you may get free condoms or other types of birth control.
- Payment assistance programs: Some drug companies that make birth control offer free birth control to eligible people. Check birth control companies online to find out what the eligibility status is.
- College health center: College students can sometimes get free condoms or other reduced-price birth control through the student health center on campus.
Types of Birth Control
Birth control is any method you choose to prevent pregnancy. Many birth control options are available; while some are free, others can be more costly.
Some birth control methods alter your hormones so your body does not allow for pregnancy. Other methods create a barrier between the egg and sperm.
Birth control is not a one-size-fits-all, and some methods of birth control are more effective than others. Choose the method you believe will be best for you and your partner.
Birth control methods
To choose the right method for you, it’s important to understand all available options. Below, we’ll go over all the available forms of birth control.
Birth control pill
Birth control pills are hormones you take once a day. They contain estrogen and progestin to prevent pregnancy. You need a prescription from a licensed healthcare provider to get these pills.
You can get an over-the-counter (OTC) emergency contraception pill, like Plan B, if you have unprotected sex. You must take this pill within 72 hours. However, this is not a great method for regular use, as it contains very high doses of hormones.
The Depo-Provera shot is an injection of progestin hormone to prevent your body from getting pregnant. You’ll need to get a dose every three months at your medical provider’s office.
The vaginal ring is a small flexible ring you insert into your vagina every month. Over time, it releases hormones to prevent pregnancy. This method requires a prescription from a healthcare provider.
The patch is a small adhesive patch that contains estrogen and progestin. You place a new patch on yourself each week, then leave it off during your period. The patch requires a prescription from your provider.
An IUD is a small T-shaped device your provider puts into your uterus to prevent pregnancy. There are two types, a hormonal IUD and a copper IUD. Depending on which IUD you choose, the device can stay in for 3-10 years.
The implant is a small plastic rod containing progestin that your medical provider implants into your upper arm. The implant lasts for about three years.
An external condom is a thin covering placed on an erect penis before sex. These are one-time use and are available for purchase OTC.
An internal condom is a thin lubricated pouch with a ring on each end. Insert the internal condom into the vagina before sex. These are one-time use and are available for purchase OTC.
A diaphragm is a thin dome-shaped cup inserted into the vagina to cover the cervix before sex. It needs spermicide to work properly.
These can be washed and reused for years. A healthcare provider needs to fit you for the correct size before use.
Birth control sponge
A birth control sponge is a disk-shaped piece of foam containing spermicide. Insert it into the vagina before sex. These are one-time use and are available OTC.
A cervical cap is a soft cup you fill with spermicide and then insert into the vagina before sex. Your medical provider needs to determine the correct size. Cervical caps can be cleaned and reused.
Spermicide gel, cream, or foam are products that kill sperm. Use them with barrier methods such as the diaphragm, sponge, and cervical cap to increase their effectiveness. Spermicide is available OTC.
Fertility awareness method
The fertility awareness method tracks your menstrual cycle to determine which days you are fertile and should avoid sex and which days are safe to have sex. This method demands extensive monitoring and planning.
This is not considered very effective. This method can be used soon after delivering a baby and if exclusively breastfeeding.
Where Can I Get Birth Control?
Several ways are available for you to get birth control. It can be obtained with a prescription, which you can fill at your local pharmacy, or by purchasing over-the-counter products at most markets and drug stores.
Some birth control methods require a prescription from a licensed healthcare provider. You can fill your prescription at your local drug store.
Birth controls that require a prescription include:
- Oral contraceptives (the pill)
- Vaginal ring
- Cervical cap
Over-the-counter (OTC) means purchasing that birth control method at any drug store or supermarket.
- Internal Condoms
- Emergency contraception pills
Several birth control options are available for purchase online. Any of the methods listed above that are available OTC would also be available for sale online. Licensed healthcare provider appointments are also available online if you want a prescription option.
Telehealth providers can talk with you online through a secure video chat, email, online, or text visit. After the visit, they can write a birth control prescription to be delivered to your home or for pick-up at your local drug store.
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Frequently Asked Questions
K Health articles are all written and reviewed by MDs, PhDs, NPs, or PharmDs and are for informational purposes only. This information does not constitute and should not be relied on for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment.
K Health has strict sourcing guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We avoid using tertiary references.
Birth Control Methods. (2019.)
Choose the Right Birth Control (2021.)
Birth Control Pills – Combination. (2020.)